Simplifying a sometimes difficult task

Laparoscopy is the use of a camera and surgical instruments to perform surgical procedures within the abdomen. Since, in a normal male, the testicles are already outside of the abdominal cavity, laparoscopy is not routinely employed for neutering.

Laparoscopy, however, is an ideal technique for the removal of undescended testicles, a condition called cryptorchidism. One or both testicles may fail to descend from within the abdominal cavity to the scrotum. If the testicle has not fully descended by 3 to 4 months of age, it is unlikely to ever find its way to the proper position.
Testicles that remain in the abdominal cavity pose serious health risks to affected males. Abdominal testicles remain at too high of a temperature and are at risk of developing into cancerous tumors. These tumors, called Sertoli Cell Tumors, often produce the female hormone estrogen. Estrogen can create cosmetic changes in the skin and coat, but most importantly, can cause anemia, immune-suppression and bleeding disorders due to bone marrow suppression. The tumor cells may also spread to nearby lymph nodes and metastasize to other parts of the body.

Due to the health risks, early removal of undescended testicles is highly recommended. The traditional surgical approach is similar to spaying a female dog, but can be a difficult and lengthy procedure requiring a large abdominal incision, since the testicle can be difficult to find. Laparoscopy eliminates all these challenges as it provides for thorough, magnified examination of the abdomen through a very small incision. One or two additional small incisions are made to allow the use of surgical instruments and a Ligasure® cautery device for safe removal of the undescended testicle with minimal risk, post surgical pain and recovery time.

Now that minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery is available, there is no better way to deal with undescended testicles that remain within the abdominal cavity.

If you would like more information about neutering your cryptorchid pet or other minimally invasive procedures, or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact your veterinarian or Dr. Keith Gunby at Veterinary Laparoscopic Services.